Persistent Organic Pollutants in albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) from Reunion Island (Southwest Indian Ocean) and South Africa in relation to biological and trophic characteristics

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Abstract

The contamination of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) by Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), namely polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), was investigated in individuals collected from Reunion Island (RI) and South Africa's (SA) southern coastlines in 2013, in relation to biological parameters and feeding ecology. The results showed lower PCB and DDT concentrations than those previously reported in various tuna species worldwide. A predominance of DDTs over PCBs was revealed, reflecting continuing inputs of DDT. Tuna collected from SA exhibited higher contamination levels than those from RI, related to higher dietary inputs and higher total lipid content. Greater variability in contamination levels and profiles was identified in tuna from RI, explained by a higher diversity of prey and more individualistic foraging behaviour. PCB and DDT contamination levels and profiles varied significantly in tuna from the two investigated areas, probably reflecting exposure to different sources of contamination.

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